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Fishing lines and fish hooks as neglected marine litter: first data on chemical composition, densities, and biological entrapment from a Mediterranean beach

Battisti, Corrado, Kroha, Silvio, Kozhuharova, Elina, De Michelis, Silvia, Fanelli, Giuliano, Poeta, Gianluca, Pietrelli, Loris, Cerfolli, Fulvio
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.1 pp. 1000-1007
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Halymenia, Phragmites australis, Posidonia oceanica, animals, chemical composition, cleaning, fish hooks, marine debris, nylon, perfluorocarbons, thermoplastics
We reported first data on the densities and chemical composition of fishing lines and fish hooks deposited on a Mediterranean beach. On a sampling area of 1.5 ha, we removed a total of 185,028 cm of fishing lines (density 12.34 cm/m²) and 33 hooks (density 22 units/ha). Totally, 637.62 g (42.5 mg/m²) of fishing lines were collected. We sampled 120 items entangled belongings to 7 animal taxa (density 6.49 items/100 m of fishing lines). We also observed a not quantifiable number of egagropiles (Posidonia oceanica spheroids), Rhodophyceae (Halymenia sp.) and segments of reeds of Phragmites communis, trapped in the fishing lines. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used in order to identify the chemical composition of the fishing lines: 92% was made of nylon while 8.0% was determined as fluorocarbon based polymers (polyvinylidene fluoride). Because of their subtlety and reduced size, sandy beach cleaning operations should include at least two consecutive removal samplings: indeed, a part of this litter (12.14%) is not removed in the first sampling. The unexpected high density of fishing lines suggests specific management actions aimed to periodically remove this neglected anthropogenic litter.